Monday, April 14, 2014

Back On The Rack - One Month To The Day

March 9, 2014 was the day My McVansion's rear end was raised up on David Hair's jack stands in the parking Home Depot parking lot in small town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  It was in this stance so that David with his knowledge, skill and necessary tools was able to pull the rear axle and replace the right rear bearing that had failed toward the end of my 2014 Trek #1. He was assisted by yours truly, but believe me, I was mainly the "gofer." Without David's knowledge, skill, tools and sharing attitude, I would have likely been financially stung pretty seriously by a local mechanic and I would have been stuck in Blue Ridge for the better part of a week. So, once again, I tip my hat and reiterate my thanks to David.

March 9, 2014, Home Depot, Blue Ridge, Georgia
So, the repair got me to Tumbling Creek Campground in Cherokee National Forest where I hung out with David for a short time the rest of that day and with Cuzzin Dick, another member of the vandwelling community. From there the axle carried me through a sizable chunk of Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia safely delivering me to base camp in Keyser, West Virginia about the same time I might have finally left Blue Ridge, Georgia without David's assistance. However, since the axle (only installed about 14 months earlier) was severely damaged by the faulty bearing.

Upon my return to base camp I called my regular mechanic in Winchester, Virginia and told Marty of the event. I told him I'd email him photos of the bearing and the axle. I also asked him if he could locate a good used axle to replace the damaged axle currently in the van. After he looked at the photos he determined that we had a warranty issue and that we'd probably get another new axle and bearing to replace the faulty bearing and the damaged axle. So, one month to the day, March 9th we did the temporary repair in Blue Ridge, Georgia and April 9th we tore into the rear end again and installed the new axle and bearing in Winchester, Virginia.

April 9, 2014, Southern Frederick Auto Repair, Winchester, Virginia
 The photo was taken by an old friend, Mike Rutkaus, like me, a former member of a group in Winchester and a fellow amateur radio operator. Mike picked me up while the van was being worked on and we went to a lunch gathering of local area amateur radio operators. When we got back, the van was on the rack, the new axle installed and, Will, the guy actually doing the work was preparing to complete closing up the rear end. So, Mike grabbed this candid shot of My McVansion up on the rack with the differential still open.

While I was there I had the tires rotated, had a new air cleaner installed, scanned the OBD1 codes (and found nothing) and checked the spark plugs. Turns out the plugs were pretty well burned and way out of factory spec on their gap width. So, we replaced those, too. I left with a new feeling of confidence in My McVansion. I'm hoping that new air cleaner and those new spark plugs will result in some increase in gas mileage. I certainly was certainly getting better mileage then the folks who were driving a variety of RV's. But, I'd really be happy to approach double the gas mileage they get considering the lighter, smaller and lower profile My McVansion has.

Now, back to working on the interior refinements.